Three children ranging from ages two months to three and a half years recently died in India following vaccinations. The first child, two-month-old Sharika Sharma, died on June 10, 2018, the morning after she was administered the second round of vaccinations under the Indian government routine vaccination program at the Community Health Center (CHC) in the town of Chinhat near the city of Lucknow (state of Uttar Pradesh), India.1
India’s vaccine schedule calls for infants to be given a first round of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and a pentavalent vaccine consisting of the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus), HepB (hepatitis B) and HiB (Haemophilus influenzae type B) vaccines at six weeks and a second round of the same vaccines at 10 weeks—a total of 12 vaccines during one month.2
According to Sharika’s father, Vikas Sharma:
At the time of giving injection [on Saturday], they told us that the child may develop fever due to vaccination and asked us not to panic. However, my daughter’s condition started to deteriorate soon after. When she stopped responding slowly, we complained to the doctors. But the doctors sent us home saying she will be normal in a little while.1
Mr. Sharma said his daughter would not stop crying and developed a high fever on Saturday evening, so he took her to the CHC at around 4 am on Sunday. “We were told that her condition is serious,” said Sharma. “The CHC doctors referred her to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital since the pediatrician was not on duty. At Lohia hospital she was declared brought dead.”1
On June 29, 2018, three-and-a-half-year-old Rani Kaivarta died after being vaccinated at the CHC in the village of Indasai in the Potka Tehsil area of Purbi Singhbhum district (state of Jharkhand). Rani died early in the morning just 15 hours after she was administered the OPV, rotavirus and pentavalent vaccines—a total of seven vaccines. Rani’s mother, Aarati Kaivarta, said that her daughter was healthy before vaccination, but that she died after returning from the health center.3
On July 4, another two-month-old baby died soon after being vaccinated in the village of Puskala in the Telkoi area of Keonjhar district (state of Odisha). While there are few details of the incident, a news report quoted the father of the deceased child as saying, “My child was vaccinated yesterday. After returning home, blood started oozing out twice from the spot where the injection was administered. Later, the infant didn’t consume any food and died around 1.30 am last night.”4
2 Vaccination as per the National Immunization schedule by Government of India. Health Center, IIT Kanpur.
3 News Desk. Child dies after vaccination, ruckus at CHC. The Avenue Mail June 29, 2018.
4 Odisha Sun Times Bureau. Infant dies after vaccination in Odisha’s Keonjhar; ANM detained. Odisha Sun Times July 5, 2018.